Six at the Comedy Theatre, as reviewed by Alex First

June 27, 2022 by Alex First
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A contemporary interpretation of the dastardly deeds of King Henry VIII, Six rocks. Its pop vibe is a sure-fire winner.

Photo: Grant Alexander

The six wives of the Tudor sovereign are presented as modern-day heroines, complete with costumes and “moves” that would be at home in a superhero movie.

They have all been wronged (two were beheaded, two divorced, one died and the other survived), but who deserves to be labelled the most aggrieved?

That becomes the $64,000 question as they face off against each another competition style.

They dance, prance and pout, deliver their backstories and diss each other.

Irreverent and, at times, ribald, they play up to the raucous audience that laps up every delicious moment of tomfoolery.

The subject may be heavy, but its treatment is strictly lightweight and decidedly amusing.

The six principals have excellent stagecraft and mean sets of pipes. Can these girls sing! They are also sassy.

Each is attributed musical icons as “Queenspiration”.

Married to Henry for 24 years, Catherine of Aragon (Phonex Jackson Mendosa) pays a nod to Beyonce and Shakira.

Fluent in French, Anne Boleyn (Kala Gare) channels Lily Allen and Avril Lavigne.

Jane Seymour (Loren Hunter), who claims she was the only wife Henry really loved, gives Adele and Sia a run for their money.

German-born Anna of Cleves (Kiana Daniele) doffs her cap to Nicki Minaj and Rihanna.

It’s Ariane Grande and Britney Spears for Katherine Howard (Chelsea Dawson), who lost her head for her promiscuity.

Catherine Parr (usually performed by Vidya Makan, but on opening night by Shannen Alyce Quan) was the only “survivor”. She draws inspiration from Alicia Keys and Emeli Sande.

The up-tempo numbers (there are also a couple of soulful tunes) really hit the spot for me.

The performers have ample opportunity to shine individually and that they most certainly do.

They also harmonise magnificently with the unbridled support of a top-notch four-piece band – the Ladies in Waiting.

With book, lyrics and music by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Six began as a student production in a 100-seat venue during 2017 and went on to claim two Tony Awards.

Most recently, watched by a UK television audience of 13 million, the London cast performed live in front of the Royal Family.

They were part of the Queen’s televised “Party at the Palace” celebrations to honour her Platinum Jubilee.

Six is energetic, cheeky and cheery – a kick-butt, pop musical.

Girl power lives. Rock on.

Seventy-five minutes without interval, it is playing at Melbourne’s  Comedy Theatre until 21st August, 2022.

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